Nelson named county Woman of the Year
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 12:43

Turner Station volunteer earns a top county honor

by Nicole Rodman

When she first got the phone call telling her she had been named as Baltimore County’s 2013 Woman of the Year, Gloria Nelson was shocked.
    “I was truly surprised and overwhelmed with disbelief,” she told The Eagle last week. “I am grateful for the recognition.”
    For the past 31 years, the Baltimore County Commission for Women has awarded the title of Woman of the Year to a deserving female county resident.
    The commission’s awards program, which includes Women Making a Difference awards along with the Woman of the Year and Young Woman of the year, has previously honored Dundalkians including Judy Boggs, Marge Capecci, Carla Crisp, Nancy Dietrich, Kiranjit Kaur and Alice Mason. Most recently, Irene Spatafore of Dundalk won the 2012 Woman of the Year award.
    Nominated by fellow Turner Station Conservation Team member Edythe Brooks, as well as Frances H. Flanigan of the Maryland Port Administration, Nelson was chosen based on her long list of accomplishments in the Turner Station and Dundalk area.
    In a press release announcing the selection of Nelson as Woman of the Year, the Baltimore County Commission for Women noted that Nelson “is a greatly admired community leader who is passionate, selfless, focused and tireless.”
    Indeed, Nelson has spent the last 31 years giving of herself to others in the community.
    In addition to her two children and full-time job with the Maryland Department of Human Resources, Nelson has spent her little free time volunteering across the area.
    For the past 31 years, Nelson has been a volunteer for the Turner Station Recreation Council.
    In that capacity, she has been instrumental in improving facilities (such as basketball courts and athletic fields), and running many rec council programs.
    She has served as a past president of the rec council and chairperson for countless programs.
    Nelson has also served as a member of the Turner Station Conservation Teams for the past decade.
    As if this were not enough, Nelson is a member of the Dundalk Community Council, formed by the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation (DRC).
    Nelson has also been instrumental in serving as a liason between the Port of Baltimore and the community.
    She is a 10-year member of the Maryland Port Administration Dredge Material Management Program Citizen Advisory Committee and the Harbor Team.
    Additionally, Nelson has served as a member of the Maryland Port Administration’s Chrome Ore Processing Residue (COPR) Remediation group.
    During her time with COPR, Nelson has worked to push for the cleanup of chromium-contaminated soil in the port and Turner Station areas.
    A proponent of education as well, in 2008, Nelson was appointed to the Community College of Baltimore County Board of Trustees by Gov. Martin O’Malley.
    While Nelson is now being recognized by Baltimore County for her tireless efforts, this is not her first award.
    Nelson has been named Greater St. John Baptist Church’s Woman of the Year and, in 2004, she was honored with the Environmental Improvement Award for the Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
    Three years later she received the National Health and Fitness Association, Inc.’s Community Service Award and, finally, in 2012, she received a DRC Milestone Award.
    Though just reading Nelson’s resumé is enough to make most people tired, she remains dedicated to serving the community that she calls home.
    “I want to serve my community because of the compassion and love I have for the children, youth and community as a whole,” she explained.
    “Our community has a wealth of history, and it is important to preserve that richness as we continue to rebuild the community.”
    When asked how she remains motivated despite the long hours and hard work, Nelson was quick to give credit where credit is due.
    “Everyone has a purpose in life, God has given me gifts and talents to lead and serve,” she explained, noting, “Without Him this would not be possible, I give God all the glory for what He has allowed me to do.”
    In addition to Nelson as Woman of the Year, the Baltimore County Commission for Women has named Perry Hall High School senior McCall Behringer as 2013 Young Woman of the Year.
    The late Judge S. Ann Brobst will posthumously receive the “Woman Making a Difference Award.” Brobst, a former Baltimore County prosecutor who was appointed to the county Circuit Court in 2010, died of cancer late last year.
    All three women will be honored during a ceremony at the Baltimore County Council Chamber in Towson on Thursday, March 21, at 6 p.m.